van Driel laboratory: Immune responses to pathogens
The WHO estimates that bacterial infectious diseases account for ~10 million deaths annually. This area of our research is directed toward maximizing the chances of developing more effective vaccines and antimicrobial drugs through a better understanding of how the immune system combats bacterial infections.
Innate immune responses in infected tissues are essential for controlling invading pathogens in the early phases of infection preventing the rapid replication and widespread dissemination of pathogens. Despite having a vital role, the main cells and factors that control innate immune responses in tissues are poorly defined compared to our knowledge of events in lymphoid organs. Components involved in innate immune responses to pathogens have mostly been studied in isolation and there are few examples where the interplay between distinct innate components that mediate pathogen clearance in vivo is well understood.
To gain an integrated understanding of the in vivo innate immune network in lung tissue, we are investigating the immune response to the intracellular lung bacterial pathogens such as Legionella pneumophila. This important opportunistic pathogen causes Legionnaires’ disease, a vastly under diagnosed infection estimated to cause around 10% of community acquired and nosocomial pneumonia and a disease that is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality.
Max Chao Yang
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For further information about this research, please contact Professor Ian van Driel